near eastern air transport plane iraqi jews to israel bombings zionist false flag
© Photographer unknown/Fair use of uncredited photos found on multiple internet sitesOne of Near East Air Transport’s planes at Baghdad’s airport, with Iraqi Jews awaiting space on a flight. The stairs are marked “Transocean Air Lines,” another US charter airline.
Zionists deny that Israel had any part in the ethnic cleansing of Iraq's Jews in 1950 to encourage Jewish immigration to Israel. But a core aspect of their exodus is omitted: the role of the Israeli airline, Near East Air Transport

In 1951, an Iraqi court determined that the main perpetrators of a series of attacks on Baghdad's Jews were Zionists — not, as it was intended to appear, their non-Jewish countrymen. But it was by then too late to stop the goal of the crime: the ethnic cleansing of the city's ancient Jewish community, in order to ship as many of its people as possible to Israel — "as cannon and demographic fodder" for the state, in the words of ex-Hagana member Hanna Braun, who once had the task of receiving them.[1] As a bonus, the false-flag attacks reinforced the core construct upon which Zionism depends: that the world is an irredeemably dangerous place for Jews.

There remains today among the Zionist movement the utmost vested interest in preserving the belief that the ethnic cleansing was the work of Baghdad's non-Jews, or the "Arabs," as Western parlance likes to frame it. If the public knew it was Israel's crime, the ripple effects would cut far beyond the scandal of Iraq; they would force the question of Israel's and Zionism's very claim to exist for the benefit of Jews.

In fact, a broader view of the Iraqi saga exposes the fraud of Israel's claimed raison d'etre no matter who planted the bombs. Zionist responsibility is pivotal only if a core aspect of the exodus is omitted from the story: that of the sole airline tasked with ferrying Iraq's Jews to Israel, Near East Air Transport (NEAT).[2]

The background

After the Baghdad bombings were exposed as a false-flag operation, the denials were quick and emphatic; the World Jewish Congress condemned the court's verdict as part of an anti-Jewish conspiracy. But the Iraqi police had been in contact with the US Embassy during the trial, a CIA official was present, and the British monitored the proceedings, evidence, protocol, and even the quality of the special court's president. British witness P.A. Rhodes reported that the trial was conducted fairly. Nothing, he wrote, suggested that the two principal suspects "were anything but guilty of the charges preferred against them."

Over the years, witnesses and researchers reinforced the essential point. Early among them was Moshe Menuhin's scathing Decadence of Judaism in Our Time (1965-69), which not only reports the Iraqi exodus as a "forced draft" to "find enough Jews for the Jewish State," but already understands that Israel will use its ethnic cleansing of Jewish communities in the Middle East and Africa to argue that their demise balances out its ethnic cleansing of Palestine.[3]
Avi Shlaim zionism palestine rights oxford
Avi Shlaim, historian and Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford
Barring future revelations from now-secret Zionist archives, the most complete investigation into the exodus comes from one of the very people who was part of the massive population transfer: Avi Shlaim, historian and Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford, whose Three Worlds: Memoirs of an Arab-Jew, details the fruits of his years of research to discover the truth behind his family's forfeiting of their good life in their Iraqi homeland.

Of the five bombs that hit Baghdad, his analysis concludes definite Zionist culpability for three of the bombs, possible Zionist culpability for a fourth (said to have been carried out by a disgruntled Syrian encouraged by a police officer bribed by the Zionists), and one bombing carried out by Istiqlal, an ultra-nationalist party with fascist leanings.[4]

Enter Near East Air Transport

But now let's add Near East Air Transport to the equation.

In 1949-1950, Zionists presented the need to evacuate Jews from Iraq as urgent — an emergency. The United Jewish Appeal called for "every understanding person in the United States" to donate money to the effort, stressing that they were "in a race against time" to rescue Jews from what the World Zionist Organization warned were coming pogroms in Iraq.

An anonymous (and presumably fake) letter in the Palestine Post typifies the message: "More than 120,000 Jews are held hostages" in Iraq, with "thousands ... thrown into the notorious prisons" and subjected to "savage and barbarous treatment." Highlighting the fear, the letter was signed only as "Jew from Iraq", because "you can imagine the fate of my parents" should the writer's identity be revealed.[5]

Yet even as the staunchly pro-Zionist Truman Administration pressured the US Embassy in Baghdad to help facilitate an airlift to Israel, the Embassy was receiving reports that the situation was being "artificially inflamed from without."

But the anti-Jewish bombings in Baghdad appeared to vindicate the blunt warnings of imminent pogroms — warnings reinforced by typewritten leaflets — and so Iraqis began forfeiting their ancient homeland by the tens of thousands to board Near East Air Transport aircraft and become settlers in the Israeli state.

The airlift operation was called "Ali Baba," a reference to the character who learns the secret phrase "Open Sesame" in the One Thousand and One Nights, now opening the door to Israel. Nor was Zionism's obligatory Biblical association overlooked: they were the flight of 42,360 Jews from Iraq to Jerusalem two and a half millennia ago, when the Persian King Cyrus freed the Jews who had been exiled by Nebuchadnezzar.

NEAT's founder, James A. Wooten, was president of Alaska Airlines when that company participated in the Berlin Airlift of 1947-48, and in 1949 led the transfer of thousands of Jews to Israel from Aden (now Yemen) and Shanghai. The following year, 1950, Wooten left the company to form Near East Air Transport in conjunction with EL AL. The company, based in Rome, was in effect a US front for Israel's national airline, piloted by EL AL pilots for Israeli use. And so in May 1950, Israel gave NEAT an exclusive contract for the airlift, despite the previously unknown company having only two planes to move more than a hundred thousand people in short order. NEAT began shipping Iraqi Jews to Israel on May 20.[6]
NEAT israel iraqi jews airlift
© American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee ArchiveA Douglas DC-4 of Near East Air Transport, the early affiliate of EL AL used in immigrant airlifts, picking up Yemenite Jews in November 1949 in Aden (then a British Protectorate), at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, to bring them to Israel.
What happened next could not have been a surprise. NEAT's two aircraft were wholly inadequate to keep up with the exodus of people who were now stranded after giving up their homes and citizenship.

Yet rather than seeking help for the thousands of stranded Iraqi Jews, Israel's reaction was the opposite. After having roused the world to a threat so imminent that the money to evacuate them had to be raised in "a race against time," Israel instead forbade anyone from assisting in the allegedly urgent task. If we were to grant Israel its own version of the situation — that it had no role in the bombs and Iraqi Jews lived in grave danger of the "Arabs" — then it willfully and forcibly left Iraqi Jews at the mercy of the very violence it was supposed to be saving them from.

Already by September of 1950, NEAT's monopoly had created the predictable humanitarian catastrophe. As described by a Jewish witness,
"I can only add that thousands of them literally face starvation, having sold all their belongings and expended the last penny of it, in the expectation of an early departure. [NEAT has] proved utterly inadequate to cope with the situation."[7]
Britain, for one, implored Israel to accept outside help. It urged Israel "to modify" its attitude "in which hardship will be caused to a large number of innocent Jews," even adding as persuasion that its obstinance might land it bad press. But Israel was unmoved, and in response to such criticism used a phrase that the Jewish Agency (the pre-statehood "government" of the Yishuv) would have railed against a few years earlier: it replied that there was a "regulated plan of absorption" of new immigrants, which just happened to be "the capacity of the two aircraft provided by Near East Air Transport."[8]

letter iraqi jews conditions airlift zionist bombing false flag
© TNA CO 67/373/8Letter describing the desperate condition of Iraqi Jews and the inadequacy of NEAT, Moshe D. Shohet, “Committee for the Renunciation of Nationality and Departation [sic]”.
Even after "the onset of winter [further worsened] the sufferings of those Jews," Israel not only continued to forbid any assistance but raised the stakes: it threatened that it would impound any aircraft that tried to help. Indeed, one critique of Prof. Shlaim's book acknowledges that "by late 1950 a backlog of 80,000 Jews, who had already registered to leave for Israel, were stranded in Iraq," but fails to ask why they were stranded.[9]

So, the obvious question: Why was Israel claiming a life-or-death crisis to save Iraqi Jews from massacre at the hands of their countrymen, yet simultaneously forcing them to remain stranded and defenseless in the epicenter of the alleged danger? As long as Israel blocked any planes but NEAT's, the money the Zionists sought was irrelevant: no amount of donations raised could help NEAT ferry the new refugees any faster.

Israel's "regulated plan of absorption" argument only highlights the absurdity. Rather than getting Iraqi ex-pats to the safety of an overcrowded Israeli camp, its "plan" forced them to remain sitting targets in the very hostile country from which they were supposedly being saved.

Hence the point of this article, which in my view should be inextricable from the larger topic: those who argue that the exodus from Iraq was not manufactured by the Zionists and that the "race against time" was real, must then admit something even more sinister than an Israeli false-flag operation: that Israel had placed NEAT's monopoly above the very lives of Iraqi Jews, not merely above their months of suffering.

There is a reason why warnings of "Arab" violence seemed credible to Baghdad's Jews in 1949 and 1950: the violence struck raw memories of the "Farhud," an actual anti-Jewish pogrom of barely a decade earlier.

Yet that deadly 1941 pogrom was an anomaly, and the evidence strongly points to it having been deliberately instigated by the British for their own purposes. To this day, Britain refuses to declassify the one document that would confirm or disprove this, with the remarkable claim that doing so would "undermine the security of [Britain] and its citizens."

Whatever the truth behind the Farhud, Iraqi Jews' palpable memories of that horror helped Israel destroy a large, vibrant Jewish community dating back two and a half millennia. Any full accounting of that crime must include Near East Air Transport's monopoly.

What, in the end, was the purpose of the NEAT monopoly? In a mid-October 1950 letter to Ernest Bevin, Henry Mack, the British Ambassador to Iraq, describes the ever-worsening conditions facing Iraqi Jews "unless the monopoly which is at present enjoyed by Near East Air Transport Incorporated is broken," and quotes a NEAT official as saying that "the Jewish Agency would naturally prefer the transport of the Iraqi Jews to be kept in the hands of Jewish firms...', "Jewish" here meaning Israeli. Avi Shlaim writes that "For Israel the operation yielded, apart from its human cargo, hundreds of thousands of pounds in hard currency" (p129). The financial motive needs no further explanation, but Israel's control over that "human cargo" was also likely paramount — to assure that the Iraqis went to Israel and nowhere else. The monopoly was a safeguard against the inevitability that many Jews would seek to emigrate to countries other than Israel — a problem that has always plagued Zionism, and that it has historically resorted to force to remedy.[10]
Author's note: this article is based on the author's Palestine Hijacked, pp 312-317.

Editor's note: The original version of this article quoted Prof. Shlaim's Three Worlds as definitely attributing four of the Baghdad bombs to the Zionists, and has since been corrected after clarification from Prof. Shlaim.

[1] Hanna Braun, Weeds Don't Perish, Garnet Publishing, 2011, and the author's conversation with Ms. Braun in London, 2007.

[2] As far as the author is aware, the NEAT contradiction has been addressed only in his State of Terror (2016) and Palestine Hijacked (2023).

[3] Menuhin's book was self-published, as no publisher would touch it. It was republished with the addendum by the Institute for Palestine Studies in 1969, and in that form is at writing available as a Kindle book by Forbidden Bookshelf. Documentation of the false-flag operation came with Journalist David Hirst's 1977 The Gun and the Olive Branch. Outside witnesses to events include Wilbur Crane Eveland, a CIA officer stationed in Baghdad 1950-52, in his Ropes of Sand: America's Failure in the Middle East (1977, published 1980). Naeim Giladi, an Iraqi Jew who had been imprisoned for his membership in the Zionist underground prior to the bombings, produced a first-hand account of those years in AMEU's The Link, The Jews of Iraq (1998), and his important book (if often sloppy and poorly-edited), Ben-Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews (2006). Regarding Menuhin's foresight that Israel would use its destruction of Middle Eastern and African Jewish communities to "balance" its ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from Palestine, Avi Shlaim quotes one Yaacov Karkoukli, an Iraqi who had served prison sentences for Zionist activities, to the effect that the Israeli government had given tacit consent to Iraq to confiscate Iraqi Jews' property, and would use it to counter claims by Palestinian refugees.

[4] The pro-fascist, xenophobic, ultra-nationalist Istiqlal Party was originally formed to oppose the British occupation of Iraq.

[5] The National Archives of Great Britain (TNA), CO 733/275/4, pencilled '39'; dated September 19, 1949.

[6] Information based on Wooten's obituary in the New York Times, June 3, 1985, p29, as well as articles in the NYT Oct 15 1949 and May 14 1950. Information also tallied against the Israeli Air Museum (retrieved Aug 22 2023).

[7]. Moshe D. Shohet, "Committee for the Renunciation of Nationality and Departation [sic]". [TNA, CO 67/373/8, stamped '37''].

[8] TNA, CO 67/373/8, Foreign Office Telegram No. 785 to Tel Aviv; Also same archive, No. 210, British Legation Tel-Aviv, 23 August, 1950. In the same archives there is also a letter attempting diplomacy dated August 23 1950, in which the Israeli government, responding to British overtures, acknowledges that Britain and "other nations" had offered to send aircraft, and attempts diplomacy by claiming that "the Israeli government had no objection, and would indeed welcome" help, but that this would be allowed only "on the basis of contracts signed with the Jewish Agency" and in accordance "the general programme drawn up by the Jewish Agency", that is, the "regulated plan of absorption". Among the airlines that had offered to assist were B.O.A.C, Fairflight Limited, Eagle Aviation, and Trans-World Charter.

[9] Britain knew that the threat to impound its planes was real: Israel had already done so to two aircraft of Britain's Eagle Aviation Limited when they landed in Lydda bringing Jews from Tehran See Palestine Hijacked, p315, and TNA CO 67/373/8, "Confidential", 18th October, 1950, stamped 35 & 36.

[10] Letter from Mack to Bevin dated October 18, TNA, CO 67/373/8, stamped '35-36'. The idea that not all Jews would want to go to Israel is also mentioned by Mack in a letter dated April 11, 1950.